Privacy policy guidelines and Template for web apps

Privacy Releasing an app is much more than just coding it. You are providing a service to people and they trust you with their data. With the amount of reports of apps “calling home” and storing and sending your data to third parties without your consent rising it is important to make it plain and obvious what you do. An easy to understand and plain Privacy Policy is not only a good service but it can make it easier for investors and users to choose your product over another.

Ramping up developers to submit and publish their apps to the Mozilla Marketplace we just released a few simple to understand Privacy policy guidelines complete with an HTML/CSS/RSS Privacy Policy Template on GitHub.

Whilst the guidelines are not a substitute for a real lawyer and don’t provide legal advice they have some very simple and powerful tips to get you going:

  • Design your app or add-on so that what you actually do with user data is what users think you are doing with it.
  • Try to give the user as much control over their data as you can, such as giving them the choice to opt-in to or opt-out of data collection whenever possible.
  • Try to limit your data collection and use to only the data that you need.
  • Design your app and service to protect the security of your user’s data in its collection, storage, and use.
  • Respond to user questions and concerns about your privacy practices.
  • Avoid ‘secret’ updates.
  • Make your use of social features transparent, so that users are aware of when they’re sharing data socially.
  • Give people a way to turn off automatic sharing or make more granular choices about sharing data.
  • Obtain consent from users when necessary, especially for location and other sensitive information.
  • Put a link to your privacy policy and, if you have them, your “terms of use” somewhere in your app.

Avoid confusion and problems in the future by getting the basics right – and that very much includes privacy concerns in your app.

About Chris Heilmann

Evangelist for HTML5 and open web. Let's fix this!

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  1. Ryan

    I think it’s very important for every website that needs a privacy policy to come up with their own clear-cut original document. I’ve seen companies too many times just copy some other site’s policy and plug in their name.

    May 5th, 2012 at 11:26

  2. John Thomas

    No judgement or anything, but what is the difference between “secret” updates and “silent” updates?

    May 5th, 2012 at 17:50

  3. Elliott Richmond

    Wise words, honesty is the best policy so it’s worth through a load of that in too. Be honest about what you’re using the data for.

    May 9th, 2012 at 02:34

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